Month: July 2015

More on Tallinn Summer School

So yesterday I got tired of the internet not working on my floor, and I investigated the issue using the Russian I knew and had learned here in Tallinn.

I also learned a new word from the receptionist: уже. It means “yet”, and I used it to ask why the internet wasn’t working yet (after she’d restarted the routers), as in: Вопрос: почему интернет уже не работа? The result was a kind of long winded answer that I didn’t fully comprehend, except for the part about tomorrow. The hotel I’m staying at (Center Hotel Tallinn) is a technological marvel – you should absolutely stay there if you care about an internet connection that works half the time!

Anyway, I digress.

When I came to this city, what I knew of Russian was mostly word soup; my grammar was non-existant. Before the end of my second week, I’m able to form simple sentences with confidence and make myself understood. And along the way I’ve had great experiences and made new friends from around the globe. Here are a few images:

Tallin Summer School - collage

A small glimpse into the things I’ve seen and done at Tallin Summer School 2015.

All in all, if you were to ask me; “Should I go to Tallinn Summer School”, my answer would most definitely be “yes!”

Trouble in Trondheim – Prologue

Finally, it’s time to reveal the prologue for my upcoming book Trouble in Trondheim: Bikers and Gangsters, which will be released exclusively on Amazon Kindle in English and Norwegian versions. I don’t have an exact date yet, but more on that later.

For now, here’s the prologue – I hope you like it!

Prologue

In that moment, the way he was posed in front of her told her there was no going back.

His eyes popping out of his head, they reminded her of ones she’d seen on frogs they were about to dissect in elementary school. Sticking out of his mouth was a swollen tongue; the hue of his skin had turned a sickly green. A tailor made suit clung stiffly and lifelessly to his body; all its former glory now nothing but a vague memory.

Why had he called her a whore? It wasn’t so much the word, but its associations which brought out her inner devil. Before leaving, she had promised herself that this land would mean a fresh start. Sighing, she turned, exited the booth and closed its door behind her. “I couldn’t help it, it was her fault,” she told herself while entering the entrance hall on Værnes airport.

Outside, the rain had settled in. She firmly entered the first and best taxi she could find.

«Where’re you going?»

«Brothel,» she answered.

Unsettled by the welcome, she still decided this country had potential.

*

«Hammer, you idiot, wake up, a guy was murdered in a toilet booth!»

«Hm, zzz.. what?»

Looking down on his most unreliable employee was Editor in Chief Karlsen.

«On Værnes, to be precise. I guess I ought to let you sleep on, but there aren’t anyone around else around right now.»

«Relax, boss, Hansen and I will take care of this.»

Karlsen sighed.

«That’s what I was afraid you’d say. Just don’t drink any more beer!»

«I won’t, he mumbled, grabbing his tweed coat from his chair, haplessly putting the coat on over his yellow suit»

«Hansen, let’s go, We’re going to Værnes!»

The young journalist Frank Hansen looked up from his monitor, throwing a sceptic look at the tall figure. Who was it Felicia in Culture had said he looked like? Jeff Bridges! Even with a fedora and a cigarette constantly hanging out of his mouth there was no mistaking the comparison. Looks wise they couldn’t have been more different: Frank Hansen was of medium build with slightly too much fat around his abdomen. He had short, brown hair and blue eyes sitting closely together that appeared to be blinking a lot.

«Fine, but I don’t drink at work, just so you know!»

«That’s only cos you’re still new to the game, Hansen!»

«Relax, Hammer, I know what happened. Everyone knows, it made the national headlines, damnit.»

Hammer snorted, and didn’t say anything else until they’d entered one of Aftenbladet’s cars.

«Listen, you little piece of shit, that’s not why I drink, just so we’re clear about that! It’s been two years, I’m past that by now.»

«Okay. If it’d been me I’d probably taken out early retirement and gone to the Bahamas – I think you’ve handled the situation well. But I still don’t drink at work!»

Hammer leaned into his seat and pulled his fedora down over his forehehad as they sped towards Værnes.

To piss when writing: Learning Russian

So yesterday I started learning Russian here in Tallinn, after taking a test that even a guy from Canada who ended up in advanced class classified as hard. I was eventually placed in the intermediary class.

Matriuska dolls!

Matriuska dolls!

The teacher was speaking Russian all the time, and my friend Massa from Japan who speaks American English fluently with no accent said, half an hour into the first lesson, that his head felt like it was about to explode.

Today I switched to the beginner class, and it feels more comfortable, because I didn’t know any grammar. In a language where even numbers are inflected (I shit you not) that’s kind of important. Interestingly though, stress might be even more important!

The verb писать means “he is writing” if you put the stress on the first syllable, “he is pissing” when putting stress on the last one. In addition, Russian is a highly inflected language, meaning that different conjugations result in different meanings.  Я писаю, the standard conjugation, means “I am pissing”; to get “I am writing”, you need to use “я пишу”.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the days ahead with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation…

Mats out.

Tallinn: Day one

So today I arrived in Tallin. My hotel turned out to be conventiently located smack in the middle of the centre of the city, only a couple hundred meters from the university. The room is barely the size of a walk-in closet, but I figure I won’t be spending much time there anyway. At least it has wifi access!

Fortunately I managed to find a restaurant to eat at so I could sit down and write. I’m the type of writer who (sadly?) only seem to manage to write a few paragraphs to a couple of pages every day, even when I’ve planned chapters in advance like I’ve done with this book.

For my next book, I will spend even more time planning it in advance, as I’ve noticed it helps make the writing process easier.

However, at some point you just have to stop planning and second guessing yourself and just sit down to get the words on paper. I’ve become much better at it, but I still have a ways to go. I hope to some day reach Ian Fleming’s level – he could sit down and punch out a few thousand words each and every day.

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming sitting at his desk.

He taught me that when writing, you should never second guess yourself or look back at what you wrote previously, because you’ll always end up hating what you’re writing or what you wrote before. Just keep spewing out those words, and then you can edit later.

I already met a couple of students at the Tallinn Summer School, and right now I’m going out for an evening with some more students. Hopefully it’ll be a good one.

Mats out.

The start of an adventure

I’m currently headed for Oslo by train, before flying to Tallinn, Estonia, tomorrow. I’m meeting some friends for a beer today, it’ll be good!

Looking forward to Tallinn Summer School, where I’ll be learning Russian for three weeks.Then I’m going to St. Petersburg for a week. It’ll be even better! St. Petersburg is the cultural hub of Russia, and sports, amongst other things, Hermitage, one of the world’s largest museums.

Hopefully I’ll also have time to write along the way so that I’ll get to finish Trouble in Trondheim: Bikers and gangsters.

Stay tuned!

*

Right now I’m in my hotel room, after having had a couple of beers with friends from when I studied journalism in Bodø. We met at Dattera til Hagen, which has outdoors serving all through the summer. If you haven’t been there, I’d recommend it! The prices aren’t bad for Norway, and the staff are nice. The location also feels very exotic, with multi colored lighting and furniture and painted walls.

The hotel I’m staying at, Scandic Oslo Airport Hotel, feels very modern and stylish. It sports a gym, free breakfast and dinner, and is situated only around 5 minutes away from Oslo Airport. However, the shuttle bus to the airport costs 70 NOK each way, which is extreme. The hotel isn’t cheap either, with one night coming in at 740 NOK. I found the shower to be clumsy; it took ages to switch from hot to cold, and when it did, the water was too hot and took ages to switch back.

My room:

My room

My room at Scandic Airport Hotel.

My room

My room at Scandic Airport Hotel.

My room

My room at Scandic Airport Hotel.

All in all I like the room and the look and feel of the hotel in general, but it is too expensive, and getting to it is ridiculously expensive.

Mats out.

Photos from Dyreparken

Every summer I visit Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park (Dyreparken) at least once, and I always like to score photos when I visit. This year was no exception, and all my photos are now available to buy as prints. I love photographing animals. Chimps in particular are fun, because they are so much like humans. My favorite this year was this one:

DSCF0527

I think it might be Julius, and it looks like he’s contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

Eventually I’ll also add photos from other places, previous years and so on. Keep checking the photos section of this site!

Mats out.

Cover: exciting!

So today I received a preview of the cover for my second novel. Felt pretty exciting, so I thought I’d share it with you guys!

Cover

Cover for Trouble in Trondheim.

If you can’t tell. I’m super stoked, to the point where I almost feel like what I’m writing isn’t good enough to be worthy of such excellence. But since the novel isn’t quite finished yet, having this will definitely help push me down the last stretch and hopefully make me stretch my writing muscles that much further.

I got this cover from the excellent Janielescueta over at Fiverr.com, where you can get various jobs done from 5 dollars and up. I only paid 21 dollars for the front and back cover, and I’m more than pleased with the result!

Mats out.

Hei, verden!

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